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Full text of "Rapid Population Growth Consequences And Policy Implications"

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conception control fails. However, it is probably true that the most widespread method today of limiting births in the world is abortion.* Mehlan (13) has estimated that as many as 40 million are performed annually, including both legal and illegal abortions in all nations. Effective conception control would, of course, eliminate the necessity for abortion, and this is one reason why family planning movements have concentrated on conception control.
Two goals that are common to the family planning movement and to national family planning policies are to enable couples to obtain the number of children they want and to decrease their numbers of children on a voluntary basis.
However, the available data indicate that the number of children people desire is above the levels necessary to control explosive growth (14). It should therefore become the policy of governments and agencies to induce parents to desire a number consistent with adopted goals. Such a policy would involve much more attention to educational efforts—from primary school to adult education—and to developing motives and incentives for smaller families.
In respect to the second goal, to achieve reduced growth rates by voluntary methods, there is also need for further consideration. In the economically advanced areas whatever control has been achieved has been on a voluntary basis, often against the wishes and efforts of government. Voluntary control seems to have accompanied increased education, higher levels of living, and the breakup of the traditional order through social change. In the developing areas, however, it may be that these socioeconomic changes—and their impact on family-size norms—will not occur fast enough without more direct intervention by governments.'
Within the past few years many nations and international agencies have become much more aware of the need for decreasing the rates of population growth. Furthermore, there has been greatly increased input into both bio-medical and social research to provide better techniques for population control.
At the present time, there is very little hard evidence by which to evaluate the impact of family planning movements on birth rates in the developing regions. In general, it is still true that most of the nations in Asia, Latin America, and Africa are experiencing both high birth rates and high population growth rates. In contrast, it is mainly in the economically advanced areas in Europe (including the U..S.S.R.), northern America, and Oceania that birth rates have been reduced to a point that growth rates approximate 1 percent per annum. In Asia only Japan can completely match the western experience,
*See Abdel R. Omran, "Abortion in the Demographic Transition," in this volume. 'In the form of national family planning policy and programs, for example, of the
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